Giving pets more paw-tection

Cause for concern: The alarming rise in pet dumping during the pandemic is a grave concern among animal lovers. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: After being on the harsh receiving end for most parts of the last three years, pets can look forward to some tender loving care as far as the law is concerned.

The Malaysian National Animal Welfare Foundation (MNAWF) is proposing pet identification and legalisation of pet ownership in high-rise buildings to counter animal abandonment.

It is also engaging with local councils on the creation of dog and pet parks in certain parts of the country.

In the long run, the body wants to engage the government on a syllabus that addresses the handling and caring of animals targeted at schoolchildren.

MNAWF secretary Shrilan Sivagurunathan said these measures will tackle issues confronting domesticated animals, especially since the start of the pandemic.

Under the pet identification and legalisation proposal, there will be “a sense of ownership” if a pet is registered under an owner’s name.

He said pet identification could be done in many forms but embedded chips were the new norm.

Each chip carried a single identification for a pet which can be scanned for an identity number.

“This will also allow for owners to be identified in case of pet abandonment. The more you legalise the process, the more accountable the owner is,” he said.

“There is a chance of a pet being abandoned if it has been brought in illegally as there is no ‘tie-up’ between the owner and the pet.

“All these avenues have been started but I think we need to take it to the next level to legalising home owners with pets,” he said.

The alarming rise in pet dumping during the pandemic is a grave concern among animal lovers.

The Veterinary Services Department will soon enforce regulations cited in the 2021-2030 National Animal Welfare Strategic Plan, including one relating to pet or animal abandonment.

On dog and pet parks, Shrilan said this was to “provide space for the furry ones” and their owners to enjoy the outdoor environment.

“Dogs love space, especially if one lives within an urban setting. There needs to be space to walk and exercise your dog. Dogs by nature love sniffing, searching and running about.

“The practice of opening the gate and letting one’s dog run free should be discouraged,” he said, suggesting that such parks have signages with rules and regulations for pet owners to abide by.

On the proposed syllabus, Shrilan said the body plans to discuss the matter with the Education Ministry, adding that it would be “a milestone to pull off”.

“Such engagements were held previously with the ministry and we hope to revisit the move,” he added.

Shrilan said the MNAWF was also conducting a series of awareness webinars on pets that involve the public.

Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals general manager Kelvin Cheah Kheng Tatt said it was important to live in harmony with animals.

“We should stay vigilant, speak up for the voiceless and educate people around us, be it kids or adults, on how to live in harmony with animals,” he said.

“If the animals are not safe to be around, check with local volunteers/feeders and NGOs on how you can help them,” he added.

Cheah said there were various categories of animal cruelty, such as caging, tying and depriving them of food and water, improper shelter and even beating, poisoning and shooting.

“The minor ones mainly stem from ignorance or a lack of education on proper care for animals, which can be overcome with counselling,” he added.

Cheah said potential pet owners could volunteer at a shelter to prepare themselves for the responsibility.

“If it’s stray animal welfare, we highly recommend the neutering or spaying and release project called Stray Free Selangor. The platform is used to assist thousands of rescuers to get their rescued animals neutered or spayed.

“With the overpopulation of strays under control, we can also reduce the risk of them being exposed to cruelty,” he said.

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pets , law , ownership


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